Sunday, November 06, 2005

Doctrines of exclusion and reconciliation

Some more thought-provoking material from Richard R. Yes I am in favor of thinking.

YOU WROTE: During this reconcilliation process, I ask the question... what is the absolute bare minimum that is catholic and the absolute bare minimum that is judaism and start from there.

I take a similar but essentially different approach. The effort to reconcile Christian revelation and Jewish tradition raises the issue of what is essential, but, at the same time, as a firmly committed Orthodox Jew and as a person with a great respect for religious tradition, I would not presume to be capable of discerning what is essential in either Judaism or Christianity. There is a great danger of imposing our own ideas on the tradition when we take upon ourselves the authority to decide what is really Catholc/Jewish and what's not. My approach is to try to intepret both traditions in terms which affirm and justify the traditions while at the same time suggesting an approach to consolidating them into the foundation for a coherent religoius life. My message on doctrines of reconciliation and exlusion was an example of that approach. At the same time, it is clear that some things are more important than others, and that the Church has been influenced in many respects by the Gentile cultures. I often ask myself: how would a member of the Church of Saint James relate to this or that doctrine? Would he understand it? Would it seem alien to him? How would he tie it into his traditinal observance?

YOU WROTE: I also think we should take our place within the eastern rite where marraige for priests is permitted and attempt as much as possible (at least emotionally) to remain within the jewish religious community. I as a caholic jew want the yidishkite that is a part of Yehoshua and that Yaacov (James) belived in.
Richard how do we move within the church and make a place for ourselves that is warm, familiure and jewish?

First of all, by being Jewish! I don't think that a Catholic Judaism can be consolidated by a person who is not committed to either tradition, if only because respect for the authority of tradition is so much part of both Judaism and Catholicism. A person cannot be Catholic or Jewish, and certainly not a Catholic Jew, until he accepts the authority of tradition. That is one of the reasons that I am completely opposed to innovations that are not supported or consistent with Jewish tradition, such as making up blessings or innovations in the liturgy which disregard the halachah. After all, the Book of Acts bears witness that the community of Jewish believers remained zealously devoted to mitzvah observance. They had been the disciples of Jesus. They included individuals whose lives had been transformed by him and by their faith in him. If they are our witnesses to him, they are also our witnesses to the enduring value of Jewish tradition for the Catholic Jew. Indeed, Jesus himself says that he comes to perfect the Torah, i.e., the Catholic Jew keeps the Torah and then perfects his Torah observance through Jesus.

This sort of stuff was a project of mine, when I still had time to think. Those were the days.

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